In this Featured Member series, AATA celebrates the work of our members. During the coronavirus pandemic, we are inviting members to share their experiences about how their professional and personal lives have changed.

August 25, 2020

What has changed (or remained the same) in your job during the COVID-19 global crisis?

Since I have a school-based position, my work with students pretty much stopped in March 2020. A handful of my students remained engaged in the online format and we continued to make art together, but most remained off-line

In what ways have your clients been impacted by COVID-19? How are you managing your own stress related to their experiences?

I have tried to make my own art during the past few months, but being without studio space has been hard. I have been trying to do more yoga and reminding myself to walk more often and breathe deeply.

Since the killing of George Floyd, the topic of race has once again been brought to the forefront of national dialogue. How have race related issues, social justice, and racism informed or impacted your work as an art therapist?

Since I have not been working with students (my clients) since the George Floyd killing, my work was not impacted. But my parenting was. Issues of racism and social justice are now common dinner conversations with my own children. We have been to Black Lives Matter plaza in DC, my kids have made their own signs and we talk about it a lot more–as we should. It’s hard to find a balance parenting in this time–I want to be real, but I also want to shield them from some of the pain that we are all experiencing as adults. It’s been hard– but it’s been that way because I can’t remain silent.

In what ways has your living or work space changed? Are you working from home or did you return to work?

I’m working from home. Since I’m changing to an elementary school this year, I have no idea how that will go. High schoolers knew how to navigate the online platforms–I’m not sure how it will work with the little ones. We’ll see!

“Tidal Basin” by Rachel Albert. Watercolor. March 2019. The Conference Committee recognizes Rachel Albert, ATR, whose artwork was selected for the 2020 Annual Conference Logo for the Washington, DC in-person conference. 

Rachel Albert, MS, MA, ATR

Rachel has been an art teacher and art therapist in Northern Virginia, just outside of Washington DC since 1999. She has developed a model for high-school studio programs that allow for personal and creative expression for young adults facing a variety of challenges in their lives. Her students have shown their resilience through their art and they leave her program with a complete portfolio. Rachel earned a Master’s in Art Therapy from GWU in 1998 and a second Master’s in Educational Leadership from Radford University in 2012. In 2017, she was awarded the Potomac Art Therapy Association Educator of the Year Award.

Since the COVID school closure, Rachel took a new position at an Elementary School where she will be a coach for staff, students and families–supporting trauma-informed classrooms while developing a comprehensive system of support for students in need. Hopefully, when schools re-open, art-based interventions will be part of the program.